Spring is coming.
Winter is a technicality. It hit the mid-6o’s here in Baltimore today and I figured I better get the last of the winter in now. Thus, I cracked open this dark saison from Ommegang. Coincidentally, this particular bottle was packaged on February 22, 2015—a year and six days ago. Ommegang first released these beers to coincide with seasons of the Game of Thrones TV series, but this one comes to me late. To be fair, it was colder this time last year and it is always a bit colder up in Cooperstown where this is brewed, so this would be a pretty good late-winter beer as a matter of style.Now, I know this beer pretty well.
Always a fan of Ommegang, I brought this in on draft for our growler program in the store I worked in when it was first released in the winter of late-2014/early-2015. I remember liking it a lot more then. Perhaps it was simply the newness of it back then. Perhaps it was colder (the beer this time, not the weather) as, today, I am pouring this five-ten degrees warmer than I should be per bottle instructions. Perhaps it was the wonder of draft presentation. Whatever the case, it is solid and inoffensive, if not particularly engaging.
Poured from a cork & cage finished 750mL bottle.
Lots of billowy tan head with a deep walnut color. The nose is decidedly high-toned—almost orange zest—with fresh rye bread and toned-down cinnamon/nutmeg aromas. These character are reflected on the palate along with licorice, pecan, and finishing with slightly astringent dark-roasted coffee. Acid is high (as expected from a saison) but tinged in a acidic coffee kind of way. Perhaps due to its temperature, it is showing a hard metallic edge, too. None of these perceived negatives undo the beer, though. It is just fine and there is nothing particularly off-putting. It is simply solid and that’s about the best I can say about it.
I have noticed my tastes changing toward lighter, crisper styles of late and I am drinking this by itself when it begs for food. But on a cold winter day with a plate of barbecued ribs or a hearty root vegetable stew, this would hit the spot. I just might be more inclined to share this one than others.